According to Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) smoking considerably increases the risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19.
In addition, FOPH says it weakens the immune system in general and is therefore a risk factor for infection and urges smokers to quit, or at the very least cut down.
Based on findings in China, the WHO says that people who have cardiovascular and respiratory conditions caused by tobacco use, or otherwise, are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.
A Canadian study found smoking increased the risks of Covid-19. Smokers have increased airway expression of ACE-2, which is the entry receptor for the COVID-19 virus, said the report.
A report by Scientific American questions whether relatively higher rates of smoking and vaping in places like Italy might help to explain the high Covid-19 death rates there. Some researchers are also asking whether higher smoking rates among men might explain higher male Covid-19 mortality.
Covid-19 is a new disease and the connections between smoking and the disease are still emerging. However, scientists have been studying the connection between smoking and the flu for decades and have found that smokers are around twice as likely to get it and more likely to get a severe case of it. Based on experience with SARS, another coronavirus, some scientists think nicotine might help coronaviruses enter lung cells.